A SUSSEX COASTAL GARDEN
This garden was designed to complement the modern barn-style house designed by Morton Scarr architects that sits high on the Sussex Downs with far-reaching views to the sea.
The house, replacing an existing bungalow, was surrounded by over-mature and uninteresting shrubs that took all light and life out of the garden. Retaining the original location of the front door, the house also sat perpendicular to the short driveway, requiring visitors to drive beyond the entrance to park, while discouraging them from entering the house through the back door.
LANDSCAPE WORKS FOR PLANNING APPLICATIONS
New architecture – and planning conditions – require a detailed landscape design to be produced and the best results are always achieved when building and garden are designed in tandem. The landscape design is not just to ‘make it pretty’ but to give context to the architecture and spatial design so that the garden works functionally and intuitively while balancing and enhancing the architecture.
The design response at this site creates an enclosed parking courtyard with staggered hedging and tall corten steel panels to allow access for the owners while discouraging visitors from using this route. Subtle visual cues along the driveway direct foot traffic back to the front door, framed by an avenue of trees underplanted with massed ornamental grasses bringing texture and light into the space. A flat plane of dark water aligns to the path around the house, while a cedar deck creates a seamless inside/outside terrace.
A corten steel pergola creates a backdrop at the rear of this main garden area, while leading through to an informal path planted with coastal flowers such as thymes and thrift. This leads to a small amphitheatre with firepit from which to enjoy the far-reaching views and enjoy the sunsets. Between this path and the parking area, a small enclosed courtyard space gives both views and privacy for the downstairs guest bedroom.
Sadly the garden won’t now be built – in part because the landscape design was completed after building works had started and superseded an already approved landscape design.